If you’re not familiar with home inspections, then you might have a lot of questions about what gets inspected, how thorough the inspectors are, why you even need one, and what you can expect if you’re walking with an inspector through the house you’re hoping to buy.
There’s a lot to know about the home inspection and your questions deserve answers. Here they are!
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an event that is basically exactly what the name implies: A home inspector walks through the home, looking at specific elements and features of the house, and then provides a report about anything that needs to be repaired.
Why would I want a home inspection?
An inspection is a good idea anytime you want a full rundown on any issues or problems with your house.
If you’re already living there, it’s a lot less necessary than if you’re buying the home — when you will most definitely want an inspector to check for any potential red flags.
The issues identified in the report will be your problem after closing. Big issues can sometimes affect the insurability of your house or your loan eligibility, so home inspections commonly occur after an offer is made on a house but before the lender finalizes the purchase.
What does the home inspector look at?
There are seven essential parts of an inspection that you can expect every inspector to hit. They are:
the roof and attic
the basement and foundation
the electrical setup
the heating and air conditioning systems
the interior of the house
the exterior of the house.
Depending on where you live and what common problems tend to manifest in the homes, you might also want to think about purchasing a termite/pest inspection, a roof inspection, or a fungal contaminant inspection. Some other inspections include: mechanical inspection, pool/spa inspection, soil inspection, well or septic inspection, wood-burning device/chimney inspection or structural inspection to evaluate the stability of the property. The home inspection is most common and the other inspections are optional for you. And in areas where radon is prevalent or where there’s a lot of humidity, you may also want to ask about radon or mold testing.
How much does it cost?
The price of the home inspection is going to depend on the size of the house. You can typically expect to spend around $300 or more on a home inspection. Your REALTOR® should be able to recommend home inspectors that are for hire and the home inspector can provide the price.
Do you need an inspector for a new house?
It’s always a good idea to get a home inspection — even in a brand-new house. You don’t want to find out there’s a problem after you move in and an inspection is the best way to figure that out. So follow the “trust, but verify” process with your builder: Trust that they did their very best to get your home in the best condition possible … then verify that they did just that with an official inspection.
Should you attend the inspection?
It’s usually a smart idea for the buyer to attend the inspection in case they have questions for the inspector or want to follow up on any notes the inspector makes. Many inspectors today use new technologies that allow them to include photos of any issues or potential problems but there’s nothing like being there in person to better understand exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it. Home inspectors are very knowledgeable and are typically open to sharing with you what they've learned about the property.
What happens if a problem is uncovered?
If everything is not in good shape with the home you’re about to buy, there are options. Usually an issue arises, the buyers and the sellers start negotiating again — this time, to figure out who’s going to pay for the necessary repairs.
Buyers might be able to ask for some money to be knocked off the final sales price to accommodate for the problem, or sellers might decide to go ahead and fix it before closing.
If everyone can come to an agreement that suits everybody, then the sale can move forward.
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